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Methane Gas Discovery: Tree Trunks Emit Strong Gas In Upland Forests

By Piyali Roy staff@sciencetimes.com | Apr 02, 2017 03:57 AM EDT

A new study has a conclusion that tree trunks emit methane in the upland forests rather than storing it. It can be considered as an unaccountable source of the powerful greenhouse gas.

According to Phys.org, the study has been done from the University of Delaware. This university is first in the world to show that the upland forests tree trunks produce or emit methane from them. Methane is a very strong gas and it is 25 times stronger than Carbon Dioxide with approximately 33 times stronger when it is released in the atmosphere.

With the methane's global warming potential, it is very critical for measuring the sources of the gas and understanding its inferences across the ecosystems. "We believe our work can help fill in some gaps in methane budgets and environmental processes in global ecosystem models," Rodrigo Vargas, who is the study leader and assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences of the University of Delaware said.

The University of Delaware reported that usually the upland forest soils store up methane in it but emission of methane from the tree trunks can counteract the effect of the soils. The research work regarding this discovery has been published in the Scientific Journal Ecosystems.

The study was done on a 30 acre land of upland forest which is situated at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Maryland. After testing a group of trees, soil and coarse woody debris (wood which is dead lying on the forest ground), scientist measured the emission of methane and carbon dioxide from the tree trunks.

Scientists also used a greenhouse gas analyzer to confirm the emission of methane. A doctoral student Daniel Warner was the lead of the study and conducted the whole experiment. The research was being funded by U.S Department of Agriculture.

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